• Digitizing some narratives in my head, as they say

    I was listening to a podcast today(actually a podcast introducing another podcast) and the narrator (who I adore, but who, much to my disappointment, my friends don’t like as well*) describes how he can take failure better than other people because he just always just adds them to his big ball of failure—that they all end up being a story to him. When something bad happens, he immediately thinks of how that is going to turn into story.

    Do…do other people not do this?

    I always think about my life as if I were a narrator. After something happens, I, too, think about how I would describe it. I usually think about how some bad event was humorous if you described it this way. In this way, generally find my life funny in a bumbling-along way.

    This is a precursor to say: I think about all the things I want to write about all the time and I know it would bring me enjoyment to share things with you, but there’s this other side of me that doesn’t actually want people to read it. I’m kind of afraid that something will happen and I’ll just end up being arbitrarily cyberbullied and is posting random content really worth that?

    It’s not. But, dear reader, here we are.

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  • PHAMETRICS // 28

    More laughter because the last time I did this was in 2015. But listen, weary audience, sometimes you need to ease into stuff.

    Me, everyday

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  • What comes next

    Before I started grad school, I wrote to myself about what I was hoping to learn and become at the end of the program and would check in every semester (or so) to reflect on how it went. Three years later, here I am again starting something new.

    Any teacher’s pet knows that the real start of the year is always in the Fall.

    Jack looking derpy throughout the years

    Jacklynn: 2013, 2015, 2018

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  • What I know now // 030

    LOL to casually trying to pretend this is a monthly installment after 8 months. But on the other side of nearly two months of relaxing, reflecting, and slugging around I finally feel a little in the mood for writing again. I won’t try to fill in the whole 8 months, but I thought I’d talk about some of the things I’ve read in the past two months.

    Something that I’ve noticed is that I have a definitely lack of fiction books getting read and coming in. When I look at my “to read” list, it’s just a long list of non-fiction books about serious topics. If you have any great fiction books I should read, please let me know!

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  • Pinapples & Turtles

    Last week I was went to the Hawaiian island of Maui. Three weeks ago, I couldn’t even list all the islands. It was a bit of a whim, but I took the time to both learn a little more about Hawaii and do some of my favorite things.

    With help from Fodor’s Maui (2016), lots of internet and youtube searches, and Unfamiliar Fishes to keep me informed, we were off.

    I’ve always been more of a mountain person than a beach person, but I feel like when you’re on the west close, you’re pretttty close to Hawaii so you might as well pop over. I’m not saying we a did a great job, I’m just saying these are the things we did:

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  • Performance of Self (is hard)

    I have been listening to an audiobook called in The World Beyond Your Head and Chapter 9, The Presentation of Self, has really been sticking with me and I thought I’d share.

    In the past, there were more trades people and a person would received his identity through his vocation. He was successful and viewed as successful by the amount of experience he had. He were respected as his professional and comforted by this identity.

    Today, we have come to emphasize the individual and we are in charge of our success by “discovering ourselves.” A man is now responsible for his destiny…and any failure to measure up is also his fault. He is constantly trying to “become himself”…and the constant performance is tiring. This is the cost of being able to reinvent yourself all the time instead of having a trade you are valued for. We go through all this social sorting throughout life—classes, school, jobs, internships…—which also reinforces a social stigma of self-inflicted failure. We have created so many opportunities to be ranked and compare ourselves against one another. We have this an unrealistic ideal of how to be in the world and it’s depressing. Literally. The book connects this cultural movement with an upswing in depression.

    I thought this was interesting because it has coincided with another podcast I’ve listened to discussing depression & suicide. One thing they’ve found is that people with harder lives don’t necessary commit suicide at a high rate, like one might guess. Twice as many white people than black people and a surprisingly high number rich people commit suicide in the US. In fact, regions with a higher quality of life have a higher rates of suicide. They gave an example of poorer groups of people plagued with disease, hardship, and high infant minorities with virtually no suicide rates. While not qualified, one of the researchers personally guessed that if you feel unhappy and there doesn’t seem to be an external cause like a job, family, or health, you might consider it an internal defect, thinking something wrong with you.

    Something we all know from greeting cards & Disney movies manifests itself in the real life: You can be materially successful and miserable, or have simple means but be content every day.

    — —

    If you’re interested in the book, I don’t necessarily recommend it. It’s kind of dense and philosophical—but maybe that’s up your alley.

    If you’re looking for ways to be happier, I would check out the short podcasts The Science of Happiness podcast where they ask folks to try happiness projects and then discuss the psychology behind it. 

  • The hypochondriac

    The pair of yellow seats are a relatively new addition to the train. What I mean to say is that the yellow seat cover is new, but the seats themselves have always been there. It’s to gently remind people that these are the seats reserved for the elderly, pregnant, or those persons otherwise in special need of a seat. It’s also the seat of shame for those twenty-somethings who absently plop down there when they enter the train who might vaguely think they would get up if aforementioned persons entered the train but in actuality would not because their zoned-out on their phone. It’s a pale yellow color that, to my midwestern sensibility, makes me think “oh that will get dirty so quickly.”

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  • Oh yeah, writing

    Two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to meet up with some friends in LA for the weekend. In a moment of recovery from the southern California sun, we sat in the shade of a backyard gazebo doing the quiet catching up that is the mortar of friendships.

    What do you do to de-stress?

    My friend posed this question and we went around the circle  about what we tried. At first I said something about the meditation I do occasionally to quiet my brain before bed. When this was met with glazed eyes I remembered that what I do when I’m really stressed is write. Specifically with a pen on a paper. I’ll just pour out the nagging-mostly-negative thoughts in my head until my hand is cramped and my brain can’t think of one more bad thing to say that I haven’t already written. It’s kind of like giving my brain a good scrub. Like putting the thoughts somewhere else so I can finally feel some relief.

    With this reflection, I also realized I haven’t been writing in months and-isn’t-that-sad? I write of emails. I say more than my share of text in the group chat…but not really writing for fun. To add to this pang of guilt, I’ve been listening to The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher and she’s such a charming writer. She read bits from her diary at 19-years-old and it was so totally impressive. Having articular thoughts on the world? Reflections on your life that are poetic?! How does she do it all?

    I know I can’t say everything that’s on my mind, but why not say more and feel better?

    Here’s to writing about righting oneself.

  • My favorite books of last year

    I don’t watch TV and only watch movies in airplanes and as a social activity. I’ve heard there are some really great TV series out, and enjoy the movies I do get to see, I just never seem to find the time.

    When I walk into the door of my apartment, the first thing I do is switch my headset to my bluetooth speaker to continue the podcast or audiobook I’m listening to. I move around the house listening to stories, from when I wake up to when I go to bed. While I should learn to appreciate the silence because I know the benefits of boredom, the idea of not listening and learning something gives me serious FOMO.

    So bear in mind that’s hard for me to widdle down a list of books to recommend because I’m often like “but that book taught me to look at X thing in Y way!”

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  • 2017 in review

    2017 was a surprising year.

    Last year during New Years Eve I was on a rooftop in India, the election was happening, but I was hopeful. The fact that I only wrote eight (eight!!) times last year tells me that my mind was occupied elsewhere…I’ll spare everyone.

    Highlights:

    01_ I read 45 books. This was one of the things that I was most thankful for this year. Getting to listen to all the audiobooks I wanted from the San Francisco library for free through my phone was my favorite thing (you might remember it as one of my 8 posts). I want to dive further into my favorite books in another post.

    Here are a few from a sweet GoodReads screenshot. 

    02_ I went to three weddings and my entire group chat got married (sans me).

    These two!

    03_ I traveled to Wyoming, Colorado, San Diego, Boston, tourist-hoppin’ in India, France, London, Beijing, and to the tippy top of Half Dome in Yosemite on a 3-day backpacking trip.

    Andrew found a sweet chill spot.

    That sweet sweet princess time we all need.

    04_ Sunny days with sunny people